SEC Power Rankings: Florida Gators Rise After Rocky Top Win

By Chris Lionetti

So the SEC West is stronger than the East, huh? That’s what everyone said about the two divisions before the 2012 college football season began.

However, that is no longer the case.

Two of the west’s traditional powers, the Arkansas Razorbacks and Auburn Tigers, are 1-2 on the season after less than desirable starts. Arkansas even lost to FBS underling Louisiana Monroe.

On the other hand, the SEC East has three teams ranked in the Top 15.

Here are where the power rankings stand after week 3 of SEC football.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide: Everyone except the Tide to roll against SEC rival Arkansas but not to the degree they did last Saturday. Alabama is hands down the best team in the nation and has yet to be tested. The matchup against LSU cannot come quick enough for Nick Saban, who until then will have to keep his team from becoming complacent. Last week: 1

2. LSU Tigers: The Tigers got off to a slow start against Idaho last week but dispatched the Vandals as expected.  The multiple suspensions by LSU have yet to affect the team’s depth this season. It certainly won’t be an issue this weekend because the Tigers will rout SEC rival Auburn. Last week: 2

3. Georgia Bulldogs: For the first time in school history, the Bulldogs have scored 40 plus points in its first three games. The offense has found new life thanks to freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Georgia has historically gotten better as the season drags on which bodes well for a team that faces its toughest matchups in October. Last week: 3

4. South Carolina Gamecocks: If Dylan Thompson keeps outperforming Connor Shaw, the Gamecocks may have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Shaw left last week’s game with an injury and was replaced by a much more productive Thompson. Shaw will play against Missouri this weekend but if South Carolina stumbles, Thompson may enter the game. Last week: 4

5. Florida Gators: What happened to the Jeff Driskel we saw in week 1? The sophomore quarterback has improved each week for a Gators team that has been better than expected. Last week’s win in Knoxville showed that this team can compete for the SEC East crown. Last week: 6

6. Mississippi State Bulldogs: The SEC’s other Bulldogs are off to a 3-0 start and now, find themselves in the top 25. They were almost upset at Troy last week but a win is a win. Unfortunately, Mississippi State plays in the SEC west with juggernauts, Alabama and LSU, and won’t be competing for the SEC West title. Oh well. Third place to those two teams doesn’t seem so bad. Last week: 9

7. Tennessee Volunteers: Tyler Bray is a great quarterback but the Vols learned that they cannot rely on their passing attack in conference play. The Vols managed to gain 83 yards on the ground last week and that is unacceptable. They also allowed Florida to rush for 336 yards. Derek Dooley‘s team needs to improve on both sides of the ball to contend in the SEC. Last week: 5

8. Texas A&M Aggies: For a freshman, quarterback Johnny Manziel sure knows how to put on a show. Manziel threw for 294 yards and added 124 more on the ground. The young quarterback scored six times on Saturday, four through the air and twice on the ground. Expect the Aggies to compete with Mississippi State for third place in a weaker than expected SEC West.  Last week: 10

9. Missouri Tigers: The Tigers gritted out a victory last week in Arizona and did so without their starting quarterback, James Franklin.  He is expected to be ready for this weekend’s game against South Carolina. Missouri will need him if they expect to upset the Gamecocks. Last week: 9

10. Vanderbilt Commodores: Vandy got its first win last week after a disrobing of the Presbyterian Bluehose. A major factor in the team’s win was a change at quarterback that had transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels starting the game. A win was what the Commodores needed to lift momentum but they now begin their SEC schedule with a road trip to Athens. Last week: 11 

11. Arkansas Razorbacks: Did anyone expect Arkansas to go scoreless against Alabama? At 1-2 on the young season, the Razorbacks are most likely out of contention for the national championship. Momentum seems at an all-time low for the program but Razorback fans can take solace in the fact that Tyler Wilson will play this week. This is still a lower tier SEC team. Last week: 7

12. Ole Miss Rebels: Fans of the Rebels were ecstatic about their primetime matchup against the Texas Longhorns last weekend. However, they did not feel that way after the Longhorns put 66 points on the scoreboard. The Rebels are still 2-1, so at least there is a bright spot. Last week: 12

13. Auburn Tigers: Does Cam Newton have a year of eligibility left? Gene Chizik wishes he would have stuck around because he can’t seem to win without him. The Tigers almost lost to the Louisiana Monroe last week and further displayed that this is the worst team Chizik has had at Auburn. The poor Tigers have to play LSU this weekend. Last week: 14

14: Kentucky Wildcats: Is it possible for Louisiana Monroe to swap spots with Kentucky in the SEC? Kentucky seemed to be on the right track with a win against Kent State two weeks ago but fell to Western Kentucky in overtime last week. Joker Phillips‘ seat is getting hotter every week and who knows if he lasts the entire season as Kentucky’s head coach. Last week: 13


Chris Lionetti is a writer for Rant Sports with a focus on SEC Football

Follow him on Twitter at : @ChrisLionetti

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